It's not a meme or a tag but Lacquer did a post on all his favorite smells and it sent me tripping down memory lane (makes sense if you know that the olfactory sections of your brain are located most closely to the memory areas). I am shamelessly stealing his idea. I'll start with some of the points of agreement...
Clean Laundry: Especially sheets that have been hung on the wash line. Fresh, clean, pure, crisp, perfect. There is no substitute.
Cow Manure: No, I am not kidding. I am quite serious. It's the smell that lets me know I am almost home. When I'd drive home from college and catch that first whiff from the manure that had been spread on the fields I'd get a very calm and happy feeling, then I'd take a deep breath to really get a snoot full. What can I say? I'm a hick from Pennsylvania.
The Woods: In the Spring when the earth is warming up and snow is melting and new things are sprouting, in the summer when it has just rained and freshened up after the humidity has clung to the leaves, in the fall when the leaves have come down but it's still warm and wet and things begin to rot...you just know it's a nourishing smell. And a stand of pine is a little bit of heaven. (I have to agree with Lacquer's assessment of wood, bonfires, and burning leaves too...all of that, just filing it under here)
Leather: And is it just me or does it seem like when you get a new leather item these days it doesn't quite have the same smell anymore? It's fainter, you have to work to fill your nostrils on a new piece of leather.
Men: Women's perfumes tend to drive me crazy sneezing or give me a headache. Few men's colognes or aftershaves do this to me so naturally that is more pleasant. Ralph Lauren's Polo.....oh Lord, have mercy! That is foreplay in a bottle! But beyond all that, I like man skin smell. They don't wear makeup which changes a person's smell. Preferably they don't have hair gel or gunk like that that interferes. Just clean man smell. Right from the shower is wonderful but even a couple hours later is terrific because he's had a chance to regain whatever smell makes him unique. Even if a guy comes in from just having worked up a sweat (Mr. Lime is a distance runner....I know this well!) A fresh sweat (and I stress fresh, not when he's gotten all crudded up and stewed in his own juices all day and into the next) on a guy is pleasant in a way (the fermenting running clothes are quite vile, however). I like rolling over onto Mr. Lime's pillow even after he has gone and knowing just by the scent that it's his pillow.
Sex: Oh don't act so shocked. Falling asleep under a blanket of new musk blended by two well sated lovers is so wonderful. I'm quite amazed how the individual bouquets are so enlivening beforehand and during, yet have such a soporific effect afterwards. Of course it can lead to...
Clean baby: Not all perfumed and powdered, just clean and soft and pure. Stick your nose in where their fat little cheeks meet their necks and snuffle a bit...mmmmm. The baby likes the closeness and you'll smell a bit of innocence and peace. Of course, even when my kids got older I still liked to nuzzle down into their necks when we'd cuddle and breath them in. Sometimes it was a game of snuffle tickles, I'd snuffle them, they'd snuffle back, I'd dissolve in a fit of uncontrollable laughter first usually because my neck is so ridiculously ticklish.
Ripe summer fruit: Berries and peaches and plums and melons. Ripe sweetness hanging heavy in the air like the full fruit dragging down vines or tree limbs.
Farmer's Markets: Yep, go back to Zern's and have your nose bombarded by a million smells...the livestock auction, the produce stands, the barber shop, the Amish chicken stand with rotisserie birds and fried mushrooms, the used books, the leather stands, the spice stand and loose tea shop, the bakery stands.....ooo, the sticky buns just crawling out to grab you by the nose and pull you over (will that be with nuts or without? yes, please), some guy with a cigar (which is a smell I actually hate but it's all part of the experience), the folks who just had their one bath of the week and the ones who are due for it. I could go on and on, it's an olfactory field trip or a scavenger hunt or a test (blindfold me and I'll smell my way through here).
Books: A new book has such a wonderful smell. It smells crisp and of promise, like a blind date who really scrubbed up and maybe threw on just a hint of fragrance hoping you'll like it and be impressed with the effort. An old book, especially one you love, is like that whole rolling over on the pillow thing. Might be kinda stale but it's familiar and comfortable in its mustiness. I'm broken in, I've stood the test, come sit down and spend some time.
Fabric: Ok, Lacquer explained wood very well. Even someone who isn't a carpenter can grasp that. This might be a bit trickier (back me up, Susie) but if you sew a lot or grew up with a mother who did you should get this. There is sizing on new fabric that leaves once it's been washed but until then it hasn't had the chance to acquire a laundry smell or a human smell. If a bolt sits around for a while it might get dusty and take that on some. It's not entirely the smell of starch. It's just the scent of potential. Just like Lacquer said different woods smell, so do different fabrics. Cotton doesn't smell like silk doesn't smell like rayon doesn't smell like wool doesn't smell like polyester. If you have to press out a seam or a dart as you are sewing the heat of the iron completely changes the smell of the fabric. Throw in some fusible facing or add some tailor's chalk or the tracing papers with special inks to mark out where you have to put darts and such. If you are an old time quilter you might get a block of beeswax to run your thread through, gives it strength and helps it slide through the thick layers of fabric and batting. Now there are all sorts of high tech threads and synthetics that do that job for you but they sure don't smell like beeswax and cotton thread. And then there's the accumulation of lint and fuzz in the sewing machine and the oil for the little motor. A sewing room that is used often is a beautiful bouquet of subtle smells that indicate practical creativity.
Trinidad: If you've been in a country other than where you've been born and raised you understand what I mean. A different country just smells completely different and I think when you get on some relatively sterile airplane and speed off and land somewhere else and can disembark on the tarmac and have a whole nation of aromas whack you in the face all at once you really grasp that. I still remember the first time I got off the plane and got a whiff of Trinidad. A distant saltiness, faint spice, lingering fruit and deeply foresty smells (A year later a foggy early autumn morning in Pennsylvania replicated that heavy base. I inhaled deeply and sighed.) all mingled in the humid blanket of scents that wrapped around me. It's deeply organic. Tobago didn't even smell like this, Tobago smelled more 'cleansed'....like it was 'sanitized for your protection.' Trinidad smelled real.
Cooking smells: Crimony, I could do a month of posts just on this! I'll limit myself though to the most nostalgic...Marjoram. To this day it reminds me of my grandmother's chicken pot pie. No, not that junk in a pie pan with a flaky crust. Anyone from Pennsylvania knows that's not pot pie (back me up, Lacquer...) Pot pie is a stewy thing, chicken with gravy and potatoes and thick homemade egg noodles and carrots and onions and simple seasonings. Marjoram is the most pungent of them. Even now when I cook with it I crush it up between my palms before I dump it in my pot. Then I cup my hands around my nose and inhale slowly and for a moment I am a kid back in Mom-mom's kitchen.
Chocolate: Yeah, big surprise there. If you've ever been to Hershey, Pennsylvania the whole town smells of chocolate. I thought that was heaven...until I drove through a cacao plantation on Trinidad. I am not kidding when I say that it was intoxicating. I think I had a human version of cats in catnip or a replay of the poppy fields in Wizard of Oz only in chocolate. I think every nerve ending wired to my nose was tingling and every pleasure spot in my brain was set on a steady buzz. I would have been most susceptible to any kind of suggestion during that drive.
So tell me, what are your favorite smells?